In the other discussion we started today, Rick reminded me of something I've been meaning to bring up in this forum: the use of the term "New Age."
My family calls me New Age because I believe in reincarnation and claim to have communicated with dead relatives. They aren't complimenting me. I've also seen the term New Age used in our forum discussions always with disdain. Yet the sort of books ASCS members read might in some cases be found in "New Age" sections of bookstores.
"New Age" seems to be a blanket category for everything spiritually nontraditional (if tradition is defined in WASPish terms). I'm sure many would browse the ASCS materials and call us New Age--but if asked to define New Age wouldn't be able to.
What is New Age?
Sharon, while you were in EST training, I was up in Sacramento taking Silva Mind Control. We even started a Personal Improvement Center for graduates and to teach other classes. I looked at EST ... no, I didn't get it.
Donna, the ASCS is in that region of conjunction for too New Age, too religious and too metaphysical. I like the idea in Spiritualism of the science, philosophy and community of continuous life. The point of view of the parapsychological organizations is more toward anomalistic psychology and Super-psi. Their actions betray a collective rejection of survival.
In our current culture, science cannot prove survival or even psi functioning to the satisfaction of science. But there are other ways to consider the reality and nature of our phenomena. To begin, research should not have proof as an objective. That can be established by any qualified group of observers with suffient background in metaphysics, psychology and the hard sciences.
Good science should develop a hypothesis based on what is thought to be observed evidence. Research questions should be developed based on that hypothesis. For instance,we have observed anomalous voices in audio recordings (EVP). Having eliminated all known mundane explanations, we develop a hypothesis that they are caused by a previously unknown agent.
Research questions can be developed which lead to research protocols. For instance, is there a net change in energy profile in the presence of the voices. If the voices are attributed to a discarnate person, and if there are recordings of that person speaking in life, what is the degree of agreement between the two examples shown by forensic-quality software, if any?
Most paranormal phenomena is studied these days with proof in mind. I think the reason there are not more what rather than if studies is that few if any of the researchers have the necessary conceptual understanding to propose hypotheses.
So the answer is yes, science can be applied to the study of these phenomena. It is just that precious little effort has been made to understand while a loft of effort is made to debunk.
Rick - I concur to your statement that New Agers argue their case in terms of personal, subjective experience. - That's me! My subjective take, on my out of body experiences, leads me to believe that if I can leave my body prior to death – then it stands to reason that my Spirit/Soul/Energy Body would quite naturally exit my body at the moment of – or the nanosecond prior to my demise. Since I've been out there, in the Astral/Psychic worlds. I know it's real. I've seen a little of those environments.
Tom – Silva Mind Control, I was aware of it during my New Age phase, I know it must have been meaningful work if you got involved and taught classes! Thank you for the news from Summit magazine. NDE made the top of the list as best evidence for Life After Death! That is progress indeed. I am well aware that the OBE is the orphan child of psychical research. That’s why I feel it necessary to chime in with my personal subjective opinion – that plus the fact that I am a right-brain artist. Cried through my Algebra exams. Linear thinking is a challenge, and if you recite numbers to me, my eyes will cross.
Donna thanks for bringing the “New Age” topic to our forum. It has stimulated lots of ideas – and I am very grateful to gleam the knowledge responders have brought to the discussion! I envy your ability to navigate left and right brain hemispheres with ease.
James Hyslop was intent on proving that a stream of consciousness continues after death - he didn't muddy the water with what the afterlife is like, how we live on - his focus was to prove survival after death. As you point out Rick, they were thorough & scientific in their research. The collective body of evidence they gathered that offers proof of survival after death is staggering. Just too bad William James wimped out and couldn't make the leap by supporting his colleagues in their findings - I guess one white crow wasn't enough after all! But he was a brilliant philosopher, psychologist not a scientist.
There are miles to go before science will be able to offer "proof" our consciousness continues after death - until then at least they are hot on the trail of "microtubules!” That's something to be happy about.... They're looking at the issue seriously and inventing some cool new words. Dr. Stuart Hameroff and Sir Roger Penrose have put forth that in a near-death experience the microtubules lose their quantum state, but the information within them is not destroyed. Instead it merely leaves the body and returns to the cosmos. This information is available on the Science Channel's Through the Wormhole documentary. Like I said, the OBE is left behind, an orphan child. . .
Also Rick, I’ve been racking my brain to come up with a single word that includes openness to a transpersonal or spiritual realm - I like Dr Lanza's "Biocentrism” - death of consciousness does not exist. It exists as a thought because we identify with our bodies. He also believes in multiple universes existing simultaneously.
So do I - one thing Werner Erhard talked about in EST - was the concept of no future or past - instead we live in "successive moments of now." Looked at in this way we can hypothesis that if all our lifetimes are occurring simultaneously we may develop the ability one day to tap into them by allowing our “stream of consciousness” (that James Hyslop assumed after years of study) free reign. Or train it using Remote Viewing techniques. Perhaps those individuals who have OBE’s have accomplished that fete. Further research needs to be made into these fringe experiences.
Sharon, thank you for your interesting comment.
Being maddeningly non-psychic myself, I always when possible talk to people who have had OBEs, NDEs, and other paranormal experiences. Are you going to the Scottsdale conference? If so I'd love to hear in person about your OBEs (multiple, I take it -- can you self-induce them?).
I went to IANDs meetings for a while and appreciated their permitting this non-experiencer to listen and ask an occasional question. Clearly an NDE, while it can be life-changing, is not always easy to process in our normal world. It is a mind-blowing visit to another level, perceived as "realer than real" -- and 90 percent of the population disbelieves it or considers the experiencer to be a crackpot. Even so, I can't help envying anyone who knows (as much as anything can be known) that the physical body is no more than a temporary accommodation, whose "lease hath all too short a date" to paraphrase Shakespeare; and that the real person continues afterward.
Hi Rick, I am not attending the conference, I have not been involved with the organization, except to fill out a questionnaire back in the day. However I am presently writing a "Personal Experience" article that I intend to submit to the ASCS Journal. I hope they decide to publish it - it seems like a safe environment to "come out of the realm of normal," and expose myself as one of the truly weird. All my events took place in the 1980's - my first experiences were spontaneous - out of the blue. I did learn to self-initiate. It was all mind-blowing. I believe it happened for a reason and I am working on the book I intended to write one day. My experiences left me with so many questions that I can now put into a new perspective. During those days, I often relied on Rilke's suggestion, "Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
I am grateful for your open mind as a non-experiencer. Most non-experiencers think of "Astral Travel" as nonsense. I dislike that term - never used it - but what do we call those realms? I'm struggling with that one. It's like "parapsychology" - what does that mean anyway.
It is reassuring to know not simply believe. . . but a with it, comes a burden of responsibility. Thank you for your encouraging interest in the topic! I appreciate your response, and your thoughts.
Sharon, publishing your article will be Michael Tymn's call (he's the publications director). I am on the publications committee and from working with Mike I know he appreciates informative and insightful contributions, which I expect yours will be. There might be a delay because so many submissions come in that there isn't always room in the next issue. Depending on the length of the piece, it might also be suitable for The Searchlight, which now has a more frequent publication schedule than heretofore.
I've pondered for years why psychical research has always fascinated me when I've never left my physical body (except, they say, in dreams). I seem to have an especially adhesive soul. But maybe there is some unconscious memory ... or intuition ...
Incidentally, concerning your book: I have long been a professional writer and editor. If you should need any editorial help (at an el cheapo rate), give me a shout. You can read my CV and other information on LinkedIn.
I like the Rilke quote.
Rick, thank you for the info. I didn’t realize you were on the publications committee. That must keep you busy and be very interesting at the same time! I have been attempting to shorten my article, but it seems to grow instead.
When I saw that you were a writer/editor I attempted to find you on Linkedin to no avail. Left you a message in the discussion group earlier in the month – asking whether the aviation field was your specialty. Donna kindly sent me a link that she thought might lead me to find you on Linkedin. I gave up when it required me to download all my contacts. Ahhhhh the virtual world, they want to know everything!!
If you could give me an identifier (?) I’ll look for your link again -- or you could find me? Sharon Ruth Allen, retired fine art professional, Seattle area. I would like to discuss my book project with you (a professional writer/editor).
Sharon, LinkedIn is something of a mystery to me. When I go to my own profile (a term I identify with sculpture and actors) the URL is https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=53656027&trk=hp-identi... . Or maybe it's https://www.linkedin.com/profile/preview?locale=en_US&trk=prof-... . I love the Internet but sometimes it sends me crazy.
If those don't work, no matter. Give me an email address, and I'll toss you a CV in plain old Microsoft Word. You can communicate with me outside this discussion group should you prefer by writing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Aviation safety was my professional field for a long time, although I am also an advertising copywriter and radio commercial director. Incredibly (but true) I was an announcer on KLSK-FM, a 50,000 watt station in Santa Fe, from 1983 to 1986.
Rick, I've failed again on Linkedin - just sent a missive to reflight. Check your junk mail just in case!
Interestingly diverse career you have had.
Thanks for the fascinating discussion, all of you. I've been relocating my team to a new building and too exhausted to stay engaged, for which I apologize. Now, I'm catching up on all the work that went unfinished during the move. I hope to have time to digest all you have said soon. It's clear to me you guys are lightyears ahead in your knowledge of these things, and I'm eager to learn from you.
I'm glad you've found it stimulating. I have also.
Donna, the New Age topic has taken me back 32 years! I have been grateful to have the opportunity to reflect on those days and get feedback from others who consider it a meaningful time. It appears to signify the beginnings of a collective shift towards a higher state of awareness. The discussion has given me much food for thought. It provided a very worthwhile discussion. Thanks!